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Connecticut custodial interference defense lawyerWhen you are a parent, your child’s health and well-being is always at the top of your list of concerns. You always want to be sure that your child is safe, but you cannot always be there for them, especially if you share your parenting time with your child’s other parent. Custodial disputes between parents do not always end with compliance. In some cases, a parent may try to flee with a child or keep the child from seeing their other parent. In these situations, that parent could be charged with parental kidnapping, which is called “custodial interference” in Connecticut.

Connecticut Custodial Interference Laws

While Connecticut laws do not specifically refer to parental kidnapping, there are, however, laws that are a bit more general, defining the offense of “custodial interference.” There are two degrees of custodial interference under Connecticut law, and these offenses may apply to all relatives of a child who is under the age of 16, rather than just the parents. If neither parent has custody of a child or children, a parent cannot be charged with custodial interference unless the other parent seeks an expedited sole custody order, and this order is granted by the court.

Custodial Interference in the Second Degree

For a parent to be guilty of custodial interference in the second degree, they must have either taken or enticed the child from his or her “lawful custodian” when they had no right to do so, with the intention of keeping the child permanently or for an unknown period of time, or they must have held, kept, or refused to return the child to his or her lawful custodian after the custodian has requested the child’s return.

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kidnapping and unlawful restraint, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerKidnapping and unlawful restraint are a pair of related crimes under Connecticut law that both have to do with restricting a person's freedom of movement. However, the two crimes are of very different grades. Kidnapping can be charged as a Class A or B felony, while unlawful restraint can only be a Class D felony or a Class A misdemeanor. The difference between the two crimes is the fact that unlawful restraint only requires the offender to restrict the victim's freedom, while kidnapping requires a person to have actually abducted the victim.

Understanding Unlawful Restraint

Connecticut law lays out the basic requirements for unlawful restraint in General Statutes § 53a-96. That section of the law defines unlawful restraint in the second degree, which is a broad crime defined simply as one person's restraining another. There is also a crime of unlawful restraint in the first degree, which occurs when one person's restraint of another places the victim at substantial risk of personal injury.

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